“The gates of hell have opened,” said one of the terrorist group’s leaders.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
By its own admittance, the Gazan terrorist group that has fired over 200 rockets at Israel since early Tuesday morning is not calling the shots in the escalation of its fight with the Jewish state – Iran is.
“Only Tehran will decide if this round continues or stops,” a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader told Israel Hayom on Wednesday.
This confirms what has been an open secret for a long time – that PIJ is a full-fledged Iranian proxy, acting on the behest of Israel’s arch-enemy right at its border.
The Islamic Republic’s motives for ordering PIJ to attack Israel may include the need to distract the world from its acceleration of uranium enrichment in contravention of the 2015 Iran deal, which was supposed to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. It may also want to undermine Hamas’ grip on the Gaza Strip, especially since Hamas is currently uninterested in fighting Israel head-on (even though it, too, receives funding from Tehran.)
PIJ is considered the second-most powerful group in the coastal enclave, even though it is far smaller than its rival.
According to the report, representatives of various Palestinian factions in the Strip met at a secret venue Monday and PIJ’s people castigated Hamas for not joining their attack on Israel. Hamas signed onto a joint statement after the meeting that said in part, “The blood of the martyrs is one and we will fight united against the criminal Zionist enemy.”
Tehran may yet get its wish to ratchet up tensions with Israel if enough pressure mounts on Hamas to show its people that it is not letting Israel’s retaliatory strikes go unanswered.
Whatever Iran’s ultimate motive, an Egyptian intelligence official told the Hebrew daily that Tehran is attempting to “ruin the lull” between Israel and Hamas. A second PIJ leader indirectly confirmed this to the paper, saying that an offer Israel made to the group to “answer quiet with quiet” was rejected.
“We will hit the Zionist enemy until it begs for a cease-fire,” he said. “The gates of hell have opened.”
After some six hours of quiet overnight, several salvos of rockets have been fired since dawn Wednesday, with the Iron Dome system intercepting several missiles. Two people have been hurt directly from the projectiles, suffering light injuries from shrapnel. Some two dozen have been injured while running to bomb shelters and about the same number have been taken to hospital suffering from shock.
For the time being, it appears that as Iran says “Jump!” PIJ says “How high?”